SPAWN Market Update – February, 2008
By Patricia L. Fry
Going, Going, Gone – 5 magazines and a publisher fall on hard times.
Here’s What’s New – Only a few changes to report.
Opportunities for Authors – 4 children’s/young adult publishers and 2 publishers seeking something really unique.
Opportunities for Freelance Writers – 3 good writing opportunities
Opportunities for Book Promotion – 7 of them, including several useful directories.
Opportunities for Artists – 3 ideas for displaying/selling your art/photos.
Resources for Writers/Authors – FREE Publicity Planner, Bookhitch, a Networking site for Writers and some interesting Predictions for Publishers.
Quote of the Month – Brian Jud talks about press releases.
Editorial Commentary – Review copy thievery. How to turn rejection into a publishing contract. Finding Your Book’s Hook.
Tango will cease publishing their print edition and maintain an online presence only.
Prosper has not prospered. They have published their last issue.
Travel and Leisure Family isn’t making it on its own, so it will soon fold. You can still count on the continuance of the original Travel and Leisure Magazine, however.
Roadstar has closed.
Blueprint, a Martha Stewart shopping magazine, will cease being independent and fold into Martha Stewart Weddings.
Barricade Books is reported to have filed bankruptcy because of libel suits, some of which have been pending for ten years. Evidently, publisher, Lyle Stuart, established this company partly in order to practice and support the concept of free speech. Thus, he has, reportedly, produced some rather controversial books. A recent Publishers’ Weekly article states that Stuart died and his widow is now fighting his financial battles. It sounds as though she’s carrying on his legacy to support the right to free speech as best she can.
I enjoyed Hal Morris’ article in a recent edition of Freelance Writer’s Report in which he talks about the changes coming for Reader’s Digest. He says that they’ve hired a new editor, they’ll make the magazine more service oriented and more appealing to women readers. He also warns that we might not recognize the periodical this year as they plan a redesign. Before sending one of your marvelous reprints to Reader’s Digest, take a look at the new look and make sure your material still works for them. http://www.rd.com.
Roger Schmurr has retired as editor of Christian Home and School Magazine. Taking his place is Amy Bross. Contact her at email@example.com.
Bar Code Graphics, Inc. has moved. Their new address is 875 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 2650, Chicago, IL 60611. They also have a new phone number: 800-662-0701. Sales@barcode-us.com.
Silver Moon Press has new contact information. 160 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011. 212-832-2005. http://www.silvermoonpress.com. (Read more about this publisher below.)
If you write books for children and young adults, be sure to consider Egmont USA, a branch of Egmont UK, as your publisher. Word is that they’re seeking young adult and middle grade fiction. Elizabeth Law was recently hired as the publisher for the US branch. Egmont works through literary agents only. My recommendation—study the type of books they publish in Egmont UK. Look at the Egmont USA Submission Guidelines. If you have a manuscript that you believe would fit the requirements, start contacting appropriate agents and ask for representation. Locate agents through these directories: http://www.aar-online.org and http://www.agentresearch.com. Learn more about Egmont USA at http://www.egmont-us.com.
They publish only a handful of books each year, but Silver Moon Press might be the publisher you’re seeking for your children’s historical fiction or biography manuscript. They are on the look out for historicals—both fiction and nonfiction for readers in the 8 to 12-age bracket. Learn more about their submission and subject requirements at http://www.silvermoonpress.com. And then contact Hope Killcoyne at 160 fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011 with your great book idea.
Here’s an opportunity to write literature for teens. May Davenport, Publishers in California produces books on Americana and language as well as humorous memoirs for children and young adults. She also produces humorous fiction for teens. Contact May Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org. Study submission guidelines at http://www.maydavenportpublishers.com.
Do you have a book on nature awareness designed for children or are you interested in writing on this topic for youngsters? Dawn Publications might be interested. They want to see manuscripts for children and the juvenile market on animals, nature and environmental issues. Visit their site at http://www.dawnpub.com.
If you write for adults, consider presenting Bud Jillett over at Jillett Publications your proposal for your how to, illustrated book, self-help or humor. Jillett is looking for authors who can write for an audience that is bored with the books that are out there. Definitely visit this website to learn what they want to see from you. http://www.publications.jillett.com. Contact Bud Jillett at email@example.com.
Here’s a publisher of cool sounding books. Whittler’s Bench Press is only a few years old. They focus on fiction and it must be related to North Carolina. They publish historical, mystery, suspense, military and humor. They want to receive manuscripts with really compelling stories that entertain and, in some cases, make readers laugh. But first, they want to see a proposal. Yes, for fiction. (What do I keep telling you about that?) Check their submission guidelines at http://www.dramtreebooks.com.
Here’s an interesting concept: donate stories for publication in Relevant’s online magazine as a way to get noticed and then you might be able to land an assignment with them that pays as much as $225. That suggestion comes straight from the editors. Relevant Magazine publishes articles of interest to Christians in the 18 to 34 age bracket. Editor Cara Davis appreciates inspirational, religious and general interest articles for this age group. She also accepts interview/profile and new product pieces. Send a query via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the publication and check out their complete submission guidelines at: http://www.relevantmagazine.com.
Are you always looking for poetry markets? Here’s a new one: The Kean Review is seeking poetry as well as articles of a humorous sort, memoirs and more. There is nothing at their website indicating that they are a paying market. If you’re interested in writing for them, request complete submissions guidelines. Contact Charles Nelson at email@example.com. Visit their site at http://www.thekeanreview.com.
Most of you have been writing for a while. Some of you have even survived the ups and downs of publishing and book promotion. Perhaps you have learned some lessons or you’ve experienced things that would benefit other writers or authors. Writer’s Digest Magazine welcomes manuscripts that are relevant to writing and publishing. They need 500-800 word stories for their InkWell column. For this section, they’re looking for tightly written trend pieces, ideas, news, inspiration and so forth and they pay 30 to 50 cents/word. Writer’s Digest publishes profiles of authors with unique or interesting stories. These pieces run 800-2,000 words. And for those of you who love writing essays—don’t we all?—Writer’s Digest publishes first person stories by published authors. Maybe you can write a 500-word piece on some aspect of freelance writing or authorship for their Writer’s Workbook section. Writing techniques articles are also popular with the staff at Writer’s Digest. They give these examples in their extensive guidelines: how to write an effective lead, how to use dialogue to establish character, how to write a modern-day romance, etc. Or maybe you could write for their monthly Market Report. Herein, they highlight publishing trends in a particular market—fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, etc. Study the Submission Guidelines. They’re available at: http://www.writersdigest.com/wdguidelines.asp.
Book Promotion Opportunities is a great resource for authors with books to promote. It’s a new (at least to me) directory of magazines and newspapers throughout the U.S., Canada and beyond that publish book reviews. Be sure to check out this site at http://www.booksindepth.com.
Books In Depth
I love directories. You can get so much more for your efforts when someone else has gone to the trouble of compiling resources. I’ve reported on some of the best newspaper and magazine directory sites before. But while we’re on the subject, I’d like to remind you of some of them. Most of them come from the resource guide in my book, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book.
Newspaper Directories (contact them through a well-written, well-thought out press release), http://www.newspapers.com, http://www.newspaperlinks.com, http://www.onlinenewspapers.com and http://www.thepaperboy.com.
Library Directories (contact them with news of your book and ordering information.) It’s best if you can direct them to Quality Books, Baker and Taylor or another library distributor or wholesaler who handles your book distribution. http://www.travelinlibrarian.info/libdir and http://www.webpan.com/msauers/libdir.
Danielle Hampson of Arizona Web TV contacted us here at SPAWN in hopes of reaching authors to participate in their Authors Show. Starting last month, the Authors Show will be broadcast on http://www.arizonawebtv.com, on http://www.authorswebtv.com. Selected “webisodes” will also be made available for broadcast through RSS video feed so that shows can be downloaded onto mobile devices. Author interviews are FREE “to selected guests.” If you’re interested in participating, register at http://www.arizonawebtv.com and email Danielle a request for guest appearance. She will also need contact information, book title and a one-paragraph synopsis describing your book. Contact Danielle at Danielle@arizonawebtv.com.
If you’ve been paying attention, you probably already know that Brian Jud is seeking help with the second edition of his book, Beyond the Bookstore. Do you have a special sales success story to share? Have you sold books in large quantities in non-bookstore markets? Brian would like to hear about it. And this is a great opportunity for you to get some exposure for your book. Contact Jud at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do reviews sell books? According to Penny Sansevieri, A marketing Expert, the answer is, “YES.” In a recent issue of Brian Jud’s newsletter, Book Marketing Matters, she says, “What someone else says about your book, message or product is 1,000 times more effective than anything you (or an ad) can say!” To subscribe to Jud’s newsletter or to read back issues, http://www.bookmarketingworks.com/mktgmatters.asp.
What’s the biggest problem that artists face? What’s their most difficult obstacle? For most artists it is selling their work—earning a living from their art. Here are a couple of articles that might help. You’ll find a good article on the topic at: http://www.artbusiness.com/consultpurp.html. Also read my article, “Promotion: Your Success as an Artist Depends on it.” http://www.matilijapress.com/articles/artist-promotion.htm. I wrote this piece especially for a friend who once asked if I could write articles or books on art promotion like those I write on book promotion.
Display and sell your artwork online at Art Break: http://www.artbreak.com. According to their site, you can upload your art for display for FREE. I’m sure there are commissions somewhere along the line, so be sure to read the fine print.
Are you a photographer who would like to get some jobs with magazines? I always thought that magazine photography would be fascinating work—of course, depending on the magazine topic. Here’s a tip: Buy or borrow a copy of the 2008 Writer’s Market. Read through the magazine listings. Many of them include a small heading that reads: “Photos.” In some cases, the editor wants photos as part of an article package, so you might partner with a writer to create something to present. Some editors are looking for photographers they can call on for specific projects. You’ll want to read this magazine’s submission guidelines and find a way to break in with some of your great shots. Locate a hard copy of Writer’s Market at any bookstore or order it online at http://www.writersdigest.com. Or sign up for a month or a year at http://www.writersmarket.com or http://www.woodenhorsepub.com and get access to hundreds of magazines—many of them seeking art or photographs.
Do you believe in predictions? I guess we all do when they are presented by an expert or someone who understands the field of his prediction. Robin Good offers New Media Predictions 2008 for publishers in the areas of Social Networking, Lifestreaming, Live Blogging, WebTV, Newsmastering and more. It’s a rather interesting two-part article that we should all pay attention to. http://www.masternewmedia.org/news/2007/12/31/new_media_predictions_2008_what.htm
Paul J. Krupin of Direct Contact PR (http://www.DirectContactPR.com) sent me this great idea. He says that each January he creates a special custom designed monthly publicity planner for the year and he makes it available in a free pdf file download. It’s designed to help authors and freelance writers look ahead. As writers/authors we must be mindful of holidays that are coming up and lead times in order to create and submit timely stories or proposals. He says that critical lead times for features and interviews are: Daily Newspapers, Radio and TV – 7 to 10 days or more; Weekly Newspapers – 4 to 6 weeks and Magazines 4 to 6 months. Download his Publicity Plan for 2008 at http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-downloads. Krupin offers several downloadable files of interest. The Publicity Plan is at the bottom of the heap. Contact Krupin at email@example.com.
Bookhitch is a portal designed to connect authors, publishers and readers. According to the press release we received here at SPAWN, Bookhitch had over a million hits in 2007—mainly from readers and researchers searching for particular books or books in a particular category. According to Emma Ward, spokesperson for Bookhitch, the most searched genres in 2007 were Romance, Fiction (general), Science Fiction, Cooking, History, Education, Travel, Religion, Poetry, Medical—in that order. As she points out, fiction is the most popular genre searched in 2007, but nonfiction takes up the last 7 positions on the most-searched list. If you have a book to sell, you might stop in at Bookhitch to see how they can help you get the exposure you need. http://www.bookhitch.com Contact Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PapersnPen.com is a networking site for writers at all stages and of all genres. It seems that the primary purpose for this site is communication and sharing via a message board. Join in at http://www.papersnpen.com.
Brian Jud wrote a great article for the December issue of the SPAN Connection. His title: “How to Turn Publicity Into Profits.” Jud is a fan of using press releases to promote your book, but he says that you can generate more publicity, sell more books and become more profitable if you follow several simple techniques for writing press releases. He says that people in the media are not interested in helping you to sell books and he brings home this point by quoting Rita Thompson, Field Producer for CNBC and CBS News. She said, “I have to think of my viewer first. It is not my job to sell books, but to make interesting television. If a book helps me get interesting television, that’s good.”
This should be a reminder to us all that our book isn’t going to generate publicity just because it exists. It’s your job as an author to build a case for your book—to present it in such a way that it makes fascinating press. How? Here are a few of Jud’s press release headline examples—for a new book: “Announcing the first book to…” (and then offer a benefit that readers want). “The world’s most definitive book on…” (be sure to focus on reader benefits.) For example, “How to end money worries” (or get a better job). Jud also offers some ideas for an emotional approach and how to use the curiosity factor.
As experts have been telling you for years, it’s all in the headlines. Just make sure your headlines offer the intrigue, emotion and/or benefits that will get your book noticed.
Who’s profiting from your review copies?
Have you heard the one about your book galleys (advance reading copies—uncorrected proofs—review copies) being sold at a large discount online? Read all about this not so funny business here: http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/ca6485951.htm.
Since this story broke, you have publisher against publisher and bookseller against bookseller in opposing stances that rival the political debates. While some say, “No big deal. It’s not illegal.” Others believe it is an unethical practice that borders, at least, on “sleazy.” Amazon seems to be leading the pack in prohibiting the sale of review galleys.
I wrote a while back about a situation where an author sent one review copy of his brand new book out to a reviewer and, a few days later, found a copy of his brand new book for sale at a discounted book site. He confronted the reviewer who admitted to selling the book and made him swear he wouldn’t do anything that evil again. Yeah right!
It irks me when someone attempts to make a profit at my expense and I’m sure that most of you feel the same way. It used to not be this way. But then, the publishing industry was not so large, competitive and complex. As an old timer, I can tell you that there are definitely sharks in the publishing waters ready to take advantage of your talent, skills, success and, excuse me, but your ignorance, at every turn.
I’m against the selling of galley proofs or review copies (what’s wrong with donating them to a good cause). However, if having your galley proofs sold is the worst thing that happens to you as you navigate through the world of publishing, count yourself fortunate.
Been rejected? Try and try again.
Mary Embree, the founder of SPAWN, shared this with me recently. She said that she approached Allworth Press over 3 years ago with an idea for a book on often misused and misspelled words. The publisher, the same one who published her Author’s Toolkit, said, “No.” She told me, “I wrote more pages, added more chapters and more words and then edited the heck out of it.” When she presented the idea again, she says, “This time I got a contract.”
Allworth Press (New York) published her book, The Birds and Bees of Words: A Guide to the Most Common Errors, in Usage, Spelling and Grammar in the fall of 2007. Read my review of her book in the December SPAWNews. A final word from Mary, “Just because a publisher says ‘no’ doesn’t mean that he/she won’t want the book after you’ve gotten all the kinks out.” She advises, “Never accept ‘no’ as a final answer. I’m so glad I didn’t.”
FYI, Mary Embree is now the Executive Director of the California Literary Arts Society. http://www.literaryarts-ca.org 805-643-3385
Finding Your Book’s Hook
A typical author, once he or she has completed a book, is inclined to stop dissecting, examining, evaluating and assessing it. The common attitude is that, once the writing is finished, it’s a done deal. Well, maybe there’s no more editing to do. You no longer have to fret about the character of the main character or whether or not the storyline is bland, believable, easy to follow, intriguing enough, etc. But you still need to maintain an intimacy with your fiction or nonfiction book to see you through the promotion process.
Sure, you were supposed to figure out who’s your target audience, where you’ll find them and how you’ll promote to them long before your book became a book. And, hopefully, you did. Now, use what you learned from your book proposal, but also keep an eye and ear toward more potential hooks—additional promotional triggers and opportunities.
Scrutinize your nonfiction book or novel again in search of promotional clues. For example, if your book is a guide to fishing spots, you have probably already arranged for space in tackle shop and fishing resort bookracks throughout the region. You’ve written some articles for fishing and outdoor sports magazines. You’ve had some regional newspaper and online publicity. But wait, what about the Chamber of Commerce and bookstores in some of the cities you mention in your book? Have you thought of suggesting a newspaper, magazine or newsletter column? This would be a good way to make a little money while promoting your book. You could involve the families of the fishermen/women who follow your guide by traveling from spot to spot. Give fly fishing lessons at a family discount, for example. Write a spin-off pamphlet for fishing widows/ers featuring sights and activities occurring where the prime fishing spots are.
What if your novel features a sportswriter who discovers a mysterious phenomenon involving the hometown college men’s basketball team? Your audience is most decidedly readers of intrigue and sports fiction as well as residents of the city/state where the story takes place. College students and teens might read the book if it has all of the right elements. But what can you do to increase your reader base?
Women buy more books than men do. So one idea is to promote it to women as gifts for their teens, husbands and others in their lives who read sports fiction. If there’s an element in your story that would capture the interest of women, start pointing it up in your promo material. Many women are attracted to books involving a strong romance, for example.
Maybe your book has a spiritual/inspirational theme. You’ve promoted it through your website and other appropriate websites. You’ve presented it as a gift item at a few local book fairs and art shows. You’ve sent notices to your huge mailing list. But have you thought about approaching grief clinics, hospice organizations, counselors and others who frequently recommend inspirational books like yours to their patients/clients?
Dig deep into the story you told or the nonfiction book you’ve compiled to locate sometimes hidden or obscure clues to even wider promotional opportunities.